At a busy intersection near three Detroit hospitals, Allen Marshall did something unusual and very generous. He made arrangements with a gas station, then stood outside with his “Free Gas For Nurses” sign.
The $900 he spent blessed a lot of very surprised medical workers. The money was a bit of a sacrifice. It had been set aside for Allen’s mother’s 97th birthday and for a tool he wanted for his knife-sharpening business. But since his mother was at a senior home, they couldn’t have a party – and the tool, well it could wait. This was more important to Allen and his wife, who works in the insurance medical field.
Reaction from people? “A lot of nurses waved. A lot of them held up their badges as they drove by and honked. People came up and donated money - homeless people came up and donated money,” Allen explains with a smile. “They (the homeless) had gone to these hospitals in the past.”
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As nurses expressed their appreciation for the free fill-up, they also shared with Allen how strange it is at the hospitals now with the virus pandemic. That’s because family members are usually there with the patients, but because of infection avoidance, the hospital rooms often have just the patient. No one else, ever. “Normally there’s family or friends walking the halls thanking them or saying something,” to the nurses. Allen says my sign “just recognizing them was a big deal to them.”
Because of past medical issues with his elderly mother, Allen and his wife have had numerous interactions with first-responders and medical professionals. That’s one motivation for his thank you generosity. He appreciates their dedication and caring. For years, Allen has carried gift cards and “anywhere I see anybody in scrubs (off-duty) I take care of those people.”
Allen has had several careers, including the automotive industry, and explains he “invested well” and now at age 60, he operates a knife-sharpening business, while his wife works full-time. He’s a big fan of financial expert Dave Ramsey, who on his radio and YouTube show, often tells listeners how to get their spending and savings in order - and then be generous. Allen and his wife would make Dave Ramsey proud!
Allen points out he has faith in God and emphasizes that encouraging people doesn’t always take money, or much money. Sometimes just a thank you makes a world of difference in someone’s ordinary day. “It takes so little, you know…very little you have to say to somebody to make a difference.”